Big 5 Sporting Goods Corporation reported net sales for the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter ended Jan. 3 were $237.6 million compared to net sales of $219.6 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008. Same store sales increased 0.1% for the quarter. The company's merchandise margins increased 88 basis points during the fourth quarter compared to the same period last year.
“We are pleased to deliver our third consecutive quarter of positive same store sales growth together with a substantial earnings increase over the prior year,” said Steven G. Miller, the company's chairman, president and CEO. “Although our fourth quarter sales were slightly softer than plan, our merchandise margins exceeded our expectations, increasing 88 basis points for the quarter. We experienced strength in our hard goods and footwear categories, which comped positively in the low single digit range for the quarter. The primary factor in our softer than expected sales was the performance of our winter product categories, which comped negatively in the high single digit range for the quarter as most of our markets experienced unfavorable winter weather comparisons to the prior year. This led to our apparel category, which is heavily influenced by the sale of winter products, being down mid-single digits for the quarter.”
Miller continued, “During the fourth quarter, we continued to successfully manage expenses and inventories. We also further strengthened our balance sheet, as our positive cash flow allowed us to reduce borrowings under our credit facility by 43% to $55.0 million at year-end from $96.5 million at the end of last year.”
The company expects to issue earnings results for the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter and full year, as well as provide guidance for fiscal 2010, by the first week of March.